With Bearsden Academy unavailable to us this past week, five of us took the opportunity to train outside at Lennox Park on a warm and sunny spring evening. Training outside is always fun. The wider space, different surfaces and obstacles all make for a different practice, requiring a different focus and increased awareness of surroundings.
We began with some pad work to warm up and loosen off. With the heat, warming up was quite easy but actually seeing some of the pads was quite difficult with the low sun. Obviously this is not a common problem in our training!
Our new 4th Dan Eric then led the practice, focussing on the kata Nijushiho and its practical application. I've practised this kata a few times but sometimes there are large gaps between the practices and eventually I forget the kata. This was one such occurrence so that first part of the training was just refamiliarising myself with the basic shapes.
From there Eric broke it down into chunks, with a few moves of the kata and the corresponding applications. Each of us then took a turn in the middle until by the end of the evening, we were getting quite comfortable with the moves.
We rounded out the evening with more kata, starting at number one, Taikyoku Shodan and finishing up at Kanku Sho (about as high through the katas as I know). By this point the sun was going down but more importantly, the midges were starting to find BMAC members a tasty supper so we called it night. It was an excellent session with some different terrains and circumstances and useful learning of Nijushiho.
The following night, with the sun still (mostly) shining, Emma and I decided to have our women's self defence class outside. I think this went quite well, with us using a fence in the St Joseph's Primary School car park to practise what is usually "wall defence". The car park surface is quite uneven which helps focus a little bit on balance. It's certainly different from a flat gym floor.
Perhaps the only downside was the sun went away a lot more quickly than the previous night so it wasn't exactly the warmest practice. Hopefully nobody got too cold! We'll be back indoors for the next self defence class this week.
During the school holidays we have one regular class per week at the Allander Leisure Centre but after this week, I hope we can have a few more outdoor sessions over what hopefully will be a long hot summer.
Scott has been training in Shoto Budo since 2007 and is a 1st Dan Black Belt. He is working towards his 2nd Dan grading.